Early March saw Apple CEO Steve Jobs take to a special stage in San Francisco to unveil the world’s worst kept secret, iPad 2. Almost as exciting as seeing the iPad 2 for the first time was the fact that Jobs personally led the keynote amidst internet rumours of extremely poor health. "We’ve been working on this project for a while, and I just didn’t want to miss this,” he told the audience who gave him a standing ovation after he walked out from behind the curtain.
Jobs went on to showcase the new iPad which he says features an entirely new design that’s 33% thinner and 15% lighter than the original iPad. The rumours of built-in cameras were true, with the new device to feature two cameras, a front-facing VGA camera for apps like FaceTime and Photo Booth and a rear-facing camera that captures 720p HD video.
All this for around the same price as the original (New Zealand pricing has yet to be announced) and battery life is said to be unaffected. iPad 2 is currently slated to ship here at the end of March, though as we reported on our website, some retailers are unsure of the exact date. It will also be available in Black or White.
iPad 2 in detail
Dual-core A5 chip.
Two cores in one A5 chip theoretically means that iPad 2 can do twice the work at once. Apple promises you’ll see a difference when you’re surfing the web, watching movies, making FaceTime video calls, gaming, and going from app to app to app.
iPad 2 is said to have up to nine times the graphics performance of the original. This means games will be smoother, apps will perform better and scrolling will be faster when browsing your photo library, editing video with iMovie, or viewing animations in Keynote.
One of the most-requested features (that should have made the original) is FaceTime, Apple’s video calling application. The front camera puts you and your friend face-to-face and you can switch to the back camera during your video call to share where you are. When you’re not using FaceTime, the back camera doubles as a HD video camera, perfect for capturing those Kodak moments.
Totally unexpected was an iPad Smart Cover that magnetically falls into place and stays put to protect your iPad screen, without adding bulk to its thin design. Open the cover and your iPad wakes up, close it and your iPad goes to sleep. It also transforms into a stand making movies easier to watch. There’ll be 10 different colours to choose from, so start thinking about it now.
Gyro and accelerometer
It might sound a bit ‘Back To The Future’ but this means you can rotate iPad to portrait or landscape, or even upside down, and whatever you’re watching, reading, or seeing adjusts to fit the display. The accelerometer, three-axis gyroscope, and compass all work together to sense which direction iPad is heading and how it’s moving.
All your music, photos, and videos on your iPad 2 can now stream wirelessly to your HDTV and speakers via AirPlay-enabled speakers or Apple TV on a Wi-Fi network. One tap of the AirPlay icon beams your content from your iPad to a compatible device.
HDMI video mirroring
If you don’t have Apple TV or AirPlay speakers just plug in the Apple Digital AV Adapter or Apple VGA Adapter (sold separately) and you’ll see everything mirrored to your HDTV or projector. And when you rotate iPad from portrait to landscape or zoom in and out on photos, you’ll see the same on the TV or projector.
AirPrint on iPad allows you to print your email, photos, web pages, and documents without download software, drivers or connecting cables.